Baddest in the Big West

Alonso Tacanga

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Wes Dipprey clanged one of Cal Poly’s multiple misses on Wednesday night and, with 13:43 to go and the Matadors ahead by 17, the rebound came right to CSUN forward Willie Galick, who turned around and couldn’t believe what he saw ‘hellip; no one.

Although not by much and not counting the referees, Galick was ahead of every person on the court. Seeing it as his chance to show off his ball-handling prowess in the midst of a walk-in-the-park 67-55 win over Cal Poly at the Matadome, the 6-8 junior decided to rumble ahead in search of two more points via dunk express.

‘That’s Willie Jordan right there. Willie was trying to be Michael Jordan,’ CSUN point guard Josh Jenkins said.

Sixty feet ahead, five seconds later, the ball was in nobody’s hands. Willie Jordan, or Galick as he’s known in statistics sheets, had failed in what could have at least been a tryout to get some minutes backing up Jenkins (three points). His ungracious dance to the Mustang rim had ended up with him losing the ball out of bounds and Head Coach Bobby Braswell scratching his head. Galick, who had eight points and 11 rebounds, could only slap his hands in self-encouragement and smile at the unsuccessful attempt.

‘I heard everyone cheering, coach was yelling to get it to (guard) Mark (Hill),’ said Galick, who wears No. 14, not 23. ‘I tried to get a dribble to control it, but it just got a little too far ahead of me.’

The turnover didn’t do much to endanger the chances of the Matadors, who led from wire-to-wire and by double-digits since the 9:46- first-half mark after Galick made a dunk to put CSUN up 17-6. CSUN (11-10, 7-3) relied on its defense and led by as many as 22 points en route to its fifth straight victory. The win made Northridge No. 1 in the conference and put them ahead of Long Beach State, which lost to UC Riverside, by 1/2 game.

The mini-scare of the game from the Mustangs came as people were starting to leave the building. Coming out of a first-half slump that saw Cal Poly shoot 21 percent from the field, the Mustangs got within12 with 1:50 to go following a 3-pointer from Justin Brown.

‘They’re a very capable team,’ said Braswell, referring to the Mustangs making 58 percent of their shots in the second half. ‘If they had done what they did in the second half the whole game, we would have been looking at a different end.’

Galick put a definitive finish to whatever hope Cal Poly might have had. He was going to go MJ again, spotting up for a 3-pointer. Instead, he put the ball on the floor, dribbled inside and hammered down a thunderous, one-handed dunk that had the Matadome chanting his name.

‘I could make that shot,’ Galick said of his long-distance shooting capabilities.

Galick could have tried the shot and, made or missed, it still would have been a bad night for CSUN from beyond the arc ‘- or from anywhere else for that matter. The Matadors shot 2-of-14 from the 3-point line, 28-of-64 overall. Their leading scorer was Kenny Daniels with 11 points.’ No one else hit double figures.

Cal Poly wasn’t so hot either. They were led by Brown, who had 14 points, and Titus Shelton, who had 11. Their second-half warming-up was only good enough to take their shooting up to 38 percent for the game.

Braswell didn’t have many nice things to say about being outscored by 10 in the second period. He did, however, offer praise for the first 20 minutes.

‘We probably played as well as we’ve played all year in that first half,’ he said.

And what about Willie Jordan?

‘I saw that turnover coming,’ Braswell said. ‘I wasn’t quick enough to get a timeout. That’s why he’s not Willie Jordan.’

Right. Being Willie Galick isn’t so bad either.